Does your pet pooch hound you to take him out for exercise, even on the hottest dog days of summer? Canine companions need recreation every day. When the mercury rises to its highest points, along with humidity in warm-weather months, a few extra pet precautions are in order for walking the dog.
Consider these 9 steps to safety for dogs and their handlers
What special measures must you take, so you and your dog can enjoy summer walks together safely?
1. Avoid walking your dog during peak heat index hours.
Obviously, dogs may need short outdoor recesses for potty breaks throughout the day. Puppies often require frequent outings.
However, longer strolls are safest in the early morning and later in the day, when temperatures usually return to more comfortable levels. By skipping the hottest hours of the day for extended walks, dog lovers may prevent heat exhaustion and even sunburns for their pets and themselves.
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2. Seek shady spots for dog walking.
Dog parks, forest preserves, nature trails and neighborhoods with plenty of mature trees offer ideal options for hot-weather pet walks. Just be sure to bring the bug spray.
3. Wear reflective clothing for safety.
Light-colored apparel helps motorists to spot dog walkers. Many professional pet exercisers actually wear light-up sneakers for dawn and dusk strolls.
Pets may sport reflective collars, leashes, and even lightweight reflective vests for added visibility.
4. Protect pets’ paws for walks.
Dogs’ feet can easily be burned by hot pavement. Beware of the darkest tarred driveways and recently repaved roads, which soak up the most heat. Walk dogs on grass or on dirt paths, if available. Pet sneakers may be found for those who must stroll solely on cement.
Construction sites or brand-new subdivisions may feature another danger to pet paws. Look out for nails, scrap metal and other building debris that may litter walkways.
5. Place proper identification on your dog.
In most communities, rabies and dog registration tags are required for all canines. Many owners also microchip or tattoo their pets for identification.
6. Leash your dog for walks.
Even the best trained dogs are safest with sturdy collars and leashes for stepping outside their home turf. Plenty of canines wear harnesses or training collars for walking around the neighborhood, about town, or out on the trail.
Careful dog walkers pay particular attention to their canine charges when encountering children, unfamiliar people, and other pets.
7. Keep your dog hydrated while exercising.
Dogs do not sweat, so they can easily become overheated. Panting helps these pets to cool off, but it also makes them thirsty. Carry water for longer walks. Collapsible water dishes are available, so you can share your own water bottle with your dog.
It’s unwise to rely on ponds or puddles for your dog to drink. These may be contaminated with chemicals or filled with germ-laden runoff.
8. Don’t forget to pick up after your pooch.
Courteous dog walkers will scoop the poop from their own pets, rather than leaving it on others’ property. This polite practice preserves neighborhood friendships and fosters a safer and more sociable atmosphere for all. In public areas, this is generally required, and some communities even ticket for violations.
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9. Check your dog for ticks after outdoor excursions.
During the warmer months, ticks can be particularly problematic, even on neighborhood walks. These pests are especially prevalent in woodsy areas or expanses of tall grass. Smart pet owners check their dogs frequently to prevent these tiny arachnids from becoming embedded and possibly transmitting tick-borne illnesses.
These nine steps can make summer dog walking safe and fun for both people and pets.